A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1

Plaza Watch International - - Iconic Innovations -

In­no­va­tion is not only im­por­tant where me­chan­ics are con­cerned, but also in terms of de­sign. Back in 1994, when this time­piece was in­tro­duced to the world’s press on Oc­to­ber 24, a shock­wave went through the watch in­dus­try. Not only had one of the most il­lus­tri­ous his­tor­i­cal brands been re­sus­ci­tated (never mind all it took to get to that point), but the sheer au­dac­ity of the off-cen­tre dis­plays – which had lit­tle to no his­tor­i­cal prece­dence for A. Lange & Söhne – was enough to take a col­lec­tor’s breath away. The ec­cen­tric de­sign cleaned up the dial to make for su­perb bal­ance of the two sub­di­als, while the power re­serve hand and the date win­dow were punc­tu­ated by said date win­dow: even though this large rec­tan­gle with a mul­lion should not have by rights been able to find well-de­signed room here, it did.

Now let’s talk about that date. This was the mod­ern era’s first large date (Lange calls it the “out­size” date), and al­most 20 years later (next year, in fact, will be the 20th an­niver­sary) it is nearly im­pos­si­ble to re­mem­ber what kind of craze the emer­gence of this date win­dow trig­gered. Frankly, prac­ti­cally ev­ery ma­jor brand de­cided to de­velop or “get” their own large date dis­plays, which even­tu­ally led Dubois Dépraz to add it to some of their mod­ules for com­mon con­sump­tion.

In terms of tech­nol­ogy, it is hard to beat the Lange 1 for sheer qual­ity. Gün­ter Blüm­lein once said that when you strap a Lange to your wrist, you should just about be able to hear the closing of a Mercedes door – and so it is for so many en­thu­si­asts of Ger­man watches out there. Qual­ity is the name of Lange’s game, and this be­gins with the un­treated Ger­man sil­ver plates and bridges and doesn’t even nearly end with the fact that each move­ment is as­sem­bled twice be­fore it is en­cased. ED

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